It’s chucking it down outside, your gear is wet from yesterday’s run, the wind mistook you for a kite on the way to work and yes, you just sneezed again! Best not go on that lunchtime run then? Unfortunately research shows that perhaps you should.

Claims that running can flush out a cold could have some truth as exercise releases adrenaline, also called epinephrine, a natural decongestant that may explain why running can help clear nasal and throat passages.

On top of this studies have shown that, when suffering from a cold, running shouldn’t affect the overall recovery time and is unlikely to hinder your performance dramatically. Tom Weidner, Ph.D., Director of Athletic Training Research at Ball State University performed one such study, where he took 60 runners and inoculated them all with the common cold. One group ran for 30 to 40 minutes every day while the other did no running at all and there was no difference in the length or the severity of the colds. In a second study he also found that having a cold didn’t affect performance. Therefore, if it doesn’t affect your cold yet can help your training, it seems running can still be beneficial with a light cold.

 It can also be an effective precautionary measure. The American Council on Exercise report that new runners have fewer colds than before they started running, due to the increase of macrophage cells (important cells in the immune system that recognise, engulf and destroy targeted cells). However, it has been noted that those who exercise excessively can weaken their immune system due to the large amount of energy required and stress on the body.

Running is also one of the best sports for keeping you energized throughout the dark winter days. This is due to the elevated levels of endorphins that it produces during and after the workout to a degree that “no other sport, including swimming and cycling” can do, according to Dr. Plancher MD, head of Plancher Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, PLLC. Increased energy levels and endorphins are known to help combat a range of ailments including colds and seasonal affective disease, so-called SAD, which is particularly common at this time of year.

Plancher’s reference to other sports not being as beneficial to endorphin production is supported by research undertaken by Richmond University’s Department of Health and Sport Sciences that showed weightlifting and other short, intense exercises did not cause blood endorphin levels to rise.

Two sensible pieces of advice I found were the ‘neck check’ and not to run with a fever. The ‘neck check’ basically states not to run if you have any symptoms present below the neck, such as a chesty cough. This is as such symptoms can be exasperated by cold air and increased heart and breathing rates.

Sports medicine expert, Dr Lewis G. Maharam explains, ‘The danger is exercising and raising your body temperature internally if you already have a fever, because that can make you even sicker’. If your temperature is above 38.3C (101F) the advice is to opt out.

Finally, however annoying your constant sneezing can be, just be thankful you are not an iguana. Iguanas sneeze more often and more productively than any other animal on the planet, according to Patti Wood, author of ‘Success Signals: Understanding Body Language’. Sneezing is how they rid their bodies of certain salts that are the normal by-product of their digestive process, so they are stuck with it even when without a cold.

Remember, you don’t catch a cold from getting cold, but instead from viruses and bacteria. They are more common in the winter as everyone is in closer contact, therefore some time outside can help!